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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 1 Hansard (16 February) . . Page.. 271..


DR FOSKEY (continuing):

right to choose, I think it is incumbent upon us in this atmosphere where women's rights constantly have to be defended to keep an eye on this legislation and make sure that it only does what it is intended to do.

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (5.51): I listened with interest to what Dr Foskey and Mr Pratt had to say and I am well aware of the path that this legislation has taken. Back in, I think, 2002, Mr Pratt was very keen to amend section 45 and various other sections around it of the ACT Crimes Act in relation to this subject. He put up a bill which pretty well did the job and which was voted down some time last year. At least that forced the government to introduce some type of legislation which will make the situation better than it is now.

Dr Foskey talks about most or all of the members of my party being given donations by the right to life organisation. Yes, I was one of those. I am very proud to support a number of issues they want supported. However, I do not see this bill as a bill about abortion. It is about, I would, say two lives: a pregnant woman's and her baby's. Dr Foskey forgets about the people who get donations from the CFMEU and Emily's List. What is the difference there with getting a donation from the right to life organisation? I really think you are being very selective there, Dr Foskey.

Perhaps I should declare one thing now. As I have told members of my committee, several weeks ago I was invited to join the Council for Civil Liberties, which has had input to this legislation. I feel that I should declare that. I asked them initially whether they were serious and whether they had a right-wing faction that perhaps I could be involved in. They were quite genuine and I became a member of the Council for Civil Liberties. I am just an ordinary member; I am not part of the executive or anything else, but I do declare that. There are probably a number of issues in relation to the powers of bureaucrats on which I might be able to have some input. Obviously, I would disagree with a number of other things that my fellow members would point out and I would probably disagree with what is being pointed out here, but I needed to make that point. If there is any problem with my membership, I suppose I can resign and just tell them to keep the money as a donation, but I do not necessarily think that that will be the case. I do declare that because it is right and proper to do so.

Causing any injury to a pregnant woman is a heinous crime. Any assault against a woman, be it a common assault, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, grievous bodily harm, wounding, manslaughter or murder, is a heinous crime. Dr Foskey mentioned things about domestic violence. I would agree with a lot of what she said there. This bill and, especially, Mr Pratt's bill are intended to go some way to deterring it. I do not resile from the fact that I think that Mr Pratt's bill is far better. In fact, even the Council for Civil Liberties liked a lot of it and said that it is probably a better bill. But politics comes into it and the government could not have the opposition coming up with good ideas, so that bill was voted down. At least this bill does go some way towards acting as a deterrent for people who would commit heinous crimes against women, especially pregnant women.

Such legislation has been passed in some states. I think the Queensland bill to which Mr Pratt referred is a particularly strong and effective bill in regard to ensuring that community attitudes and abhorrence in regard to this type of violence are properly replicated in legislation, especially in the more serious areas. Section 313 of the


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